Sir Walter Scott’s Aunt Meets the Suck Fairy

Dr. Doyle's Blog

Once upon a time there was a Scottish lawyer (and poet and novelist and, eventually, a baronet) who had an elderly aunt.  She was an avid reader, and had been for all her life, and as happens with avid readers, one day she took it in mind to revisit a remembered favorite author of her youth.  Because she was having trouble finding copies of the lady’s work, she wrote to her nephew requesting that he procure for her some of the writings of Aphra Behn.

Her nephew was somewhat take aback by the request, since Behn’s literary star had undergone considerable eclipse since the days of the Restoration, and her personal reputation along with it.  (She wrote for money.  She wrote about sex.  She had no visible husband, and possibly never did have one.  She had Catholic sympathies.  She worked as a spy for Charles II, who never did…

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